Sharon Bowen has made history as the the first Black woman to be appointed board chair of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Bowen, a finance and securities lawyer, has been a member of the board of directors of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), NYSE’s parent company, since December 2017.
“When a handful of colleagues and I founded ICE over twenty years ago, our simple idea was to make trading more automated and transparent, and that purpose anchored our original leaders as we grew exponentially, and their duties grew along with the firm,” Sprecher, who founded and chairs Intercontinental Exchange, said in a Dec. 6 letter. “Now with a market capitalization of over $70 billion, and a substantially transformed company from our origins, it’s more important than ever to challenge our leaders to take on new tasks and acquire new skills as we serve a new and ever-evolving marketplace.”
In 2010, Bowen was named vice-chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation by former President Barack Obama. In 2014, she became the first African American appointed Commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Bowen’s expansive career began as a corporate and transactional law associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell before she became a partner at Latham & Watkins. Throughout her career, Bowen has led diversity and inclusion initiatives, co-chairing the Diversity Committee and Diversity Hiring Subcommittee at Latham. Bowen also headed up the firm’s Women Enriching Business Task Force, which seeks to establish broader networks and productive business relationships among women, Face 2 Face Africa reported.
In April, Akamai Technologies, Inc. announced that Bowen would fill a newly-created vacancy on the Akamai Board of Directors.
“Akamai is pleased to welcome such a distinguished financial and legal expert to its board of directors,” Dr. Tom Leighton, Akamai chief executive officer and co-founder said at the time. “In an environment with evolving regulatory developments and market risks, we look forward to benefiting from Sharon’s vast experience and expertise.”
Born in Chesapeake, Virginia, Bowen holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in economics from University of Virginia, a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and a Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management, at Northwestern University.